In the kitchen, Divya Singh was preparing a typical Rajput dinner of mutton (which in India means goat, not lamb). In the old days, the Rajput would have hunted the mutton; now, it's bought at a local butcher as hunting is, like firearms and ammo, severely restricted.
Rachel Dennis, who also owns Oak Park's Lake Street Kitchen + Bar, is presenting Piggyback Tavern as a BBQ place, with a wood-fired grill and a focus on beer and tequila. Sounds pretty safe, and Oak Park currently has a deficiency of BBQ places, with legendary Charlie Robinson perhaps scaring off a lot of potential competitors.
We were was less than enthusiastic when Romertopf sent us another chicken cooker. However, this one turned out to be a ceramic pillar mounted in a ceramic tray. One look at it, though, and Carolyn said, "Hey, that would cook from the inside out. Let's try it."
It always surprises me when people – Anglos, that is – evince surprise and a little shock that Mexicans are "so comfortable" with such images of the dead. I'm sure people from other cultures are equally shocked that we Americans celebrate a holiday by simulating cemeteries in our front yards or by hanging effigies of bloody corpses from our second story windows.
River Valley tamales come at a somewhat stiff $5 for three rather small ones, but the flavor is good, and if you're committed to avoiding animal products, you're probably willing to pay a little extra.
October's Falafill sandwich of the month has been created by Pat and Mike Sheerin, who came up with butternut squash falafel with duck confit, cocoanut curry aioli, pickled watermelon rind and cilantro leaves.
For a restaurant that had been open only about a year, a fire could have been devastating. Fortunately, the blaze was somewhat contained, and Christine Aranza and her team have found ways to make the best of a burnt situation.